Author Archives: Jack

Stones like a brass monkey

By 08:30 our lines were eased and the morning sun began to peek out from behind Manly’s early morning dissipating clouds. The reason for such a civilized departure time was our goal just 25nm up the coast, still in Moreton Bay. Not without its hazards, the bay is huge but shallow with lots of things you can fetch up on if you’re not paying attention. The weather report looks good for sailing but we’ve heard that before.

First we thought we’d serpentine around Green Island and run the pass at St. Helena under power, where the water can get a little thin. As soon as we cleared St. Helena the breeze met us and we rounded up into the wind. With all standard sail flying I switched off Charlize, feeling that little tingle I always feel when the press of sail takes over.

This is just glorious in 9-15 kts of SE breeze doing 6-7kts. Soon we passed Mud Island and, in a first, we sailed right past the Brisbane ship channel where we usually turn and head up River to Brissie. Just a lazy sail past Bramble Bay in 25 feet of water now so no worries. Too soon, giving Castlereagh Point a wide berth, we entered Deception Bay where it gets seriously shallow very quickly.

Now Yours Truly doesn’t particularly care for creeping up closer and closer to a beach watching the depth sounder numbers get smaller and smaller and you’re never really sure about the state of the tides around here so at a certain point my courage ran out and we dropped the hook. With weather moving in we knew we hadn’t bought much protection from the expected 30kts of wind and the inevitable swell but I’d had enough. The problem is it’s said that waves will curve around a headland up to 30 degrees but my experience has been it’ll do more than that.

That night the squalls got well into the high twenties and we definitely weren’t in far enough to escape the worst of the swell so in the morning, after a rocky night, we decided to sneak in closer to Scarborough Marina, which friends in Manly told us was doable. Sometimes when they dredge out a channel they deposit the spoil right beside the channel, so if we approached the area in the channel, near where we wanted to anchor, we might not be able to cross over that suspected spoil area.

We came in beside the marked channel as far as we dared and dropped the hook, not as close as several catamarans had, but all that day we could hear it blowing but it hardly affected us. Like Bert Lahr used to say, “What have they got that I have not? Courage.”

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A good day

Conflicted, I walked up the side deck, slipped the safety hook off the anchor chain and stepped on the black rubber UP button for the windlass. After stopping to retrieve the anchor bridal I settled into the oh-so-familiar weighing anchor routine. We have the chain marked with colored plastic biscuits every 25 feet, done up in five fashion forward colors. Every time I see a color approach the windlass, I have to stop, reach into the chain locker and move the chain castles away from the hawsepipe to keep the chain from jamming up the works. So I’m busy, but there’s time to look around a little and ruminate.

Boat Works, I notice, is already yanking them in and out of the river. I’ll really miss this first world access, make that 1-1/2 world access to boat parts. It’s not all about the bass, it’s all about parts! It always feels like we accomplished a great deal at these work stops, and we did, but the same old irritants are still staring at me. Mind you, there are very few world cruisers who can look you in the eye and say everything is sorted in A1 condition, and if he does he’s probably lying. I try to concentrate on the positives like the new clothes washer and Charlize, the new silky smooth diesel engine.

The anchor arrives at the surface encased in a ball of crushed shells and mud, requiring ten minutes of washdown hose work. We complain about the mess when we anchor in muck but the truth is this kind of sticky bottom means the holding is good and we don’t worry about the anchor dragging.

Back in the captain’s chair, I slip Charlize into gear and take a sip of hot steaming coffee out of my favorite red mug from The Black Dog café in Martha’s Vineyard commemorating our very first offshore passage in a friend’s boat nearly twenty years ago. With the early morning sun glinting off the muddy river we begin to glide down the Coomera River.

The goal for our first day out is a conservative distance to a popular anchorage called Tipplers Island. As we turn into the passage we see a lot of activity, on shore and in the water. This is a real party spot and it’s a long holiday weekend so the merrymakers are out in full force. There are campgrounds, resorts and even a café. We have trouble finding enough room to anchor Escape Velocity with float planes, ski boats, motor yachts, runabouts of all descriptions, wallabies on the beach, and the ubiquitous Ozzy Mozzies, jet skis.

The next the morning, after the party crowd leaves, we find a floating dock and an almost deserted island to walk around, and when the café opens Yours Truly finds Eggs Bennie on the menu. This is already a good day.

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Getting down and dirty in Coomera

We woke up in Southport rocking to the wakes of frenetic Aussies determined to have a good time at seven on a Saturday morning, sounding for all the world like a plague of giant mozzies screaming around on their colorful but annoying jet skis. We decided to head up the Coomera River to the famous Boat Works Marina which we’ve been hearing about since we arrived in Oz. We’d been warned that it’s particularly crowded and without a reservation it might be tough but we’ve always believed in special dispensation for spunky fools, so we upped anchor and ran right into a healthy two plus knot current. Without the services of the “Evil Twin” (the starboard diesel) this may take a little longer than anticipated.

We eventually wiggled our anchor into an unoccupied spot just off Boat Works and slowly it dawned on us that they are closed for the weekend. Marce busied herself ordering a replacement clothes washer that she’s spent months researching. We are not fooling around here, and they deliver! The watery details of the delivery we’ll leave to personal charm, charisma and a positive attitude, or just refer to the spunky fools paragraph.

We dinghied over to the dock determined to hit the ground running, and immediately ran into friends from Sea Wolf whose advice on a good diesel mechanic is to talk to someone named Craig who Grant says is the only one he trusts with his engines. Fortunate because this is a vast complex with multiples of each trade and getting a personal recommendation is golden.

By Tuesday the women in the office, after a lot of boat jockeying, found dock space for Escape Velocity at, let’s just call it slip 9 3/4. It’s not an actual slip, just a walkway, and there’s no access to water and no electricity, just 3 cleats we can tie up to. I’d be embarrassed to tell you what those three cleats cost per week but that’s cruising. In the meantime plan A with the washer worked when a small but wiry guy showed up at the marina and we lugged the thing down the ramp, down the dock, and up onto the deck of EV. This has been a long time coming.

Later I charmed a soon to be ex-friend, using beer, into carefully manhandling the washer down four steps, through three doorways with doors removed, twisting, turning, tilting, straining everything, but we did it. I didn’t mention that the complicating factor with replacing the washer was that our boat is wired for North American electricity, 120v, and we are in the 240v part of the world. Our new 240v washer required me to install a 240v inverter. This is a pretty common solution among the North American boats we meet on this side of the globe. I think this means we are now truly international.

We’ve spent serious “boat units” on our starboard Volvo over the last year. (1BU = $1k) The mechanics we hired did everything but fix the problem, persistent smoking and running hotter than the port engine. I’ve been managing this thing since day one and we’ve decided that we will leave here with a permanent solution. Our new best friend Craig said he’s got the right guy who can start on the Evil Twin the next day. You can see how this works…this “spunky fools” thing. I admit now that I have great foreboding about where this Evil Twin fix is going.

Ok, the new guy is very young but he soon gains cachet with me by finding smoke coming out of the small coolant overflow tube. There aren’t many ways for that to happen, none of them cheap. Within a half hour we were looking at a shocking crack in the cylinder head. Well at least it’s just the head and not the whole engine. Volvo being Volvo, a new head shipped from Sweden costs double what a new Chevy V8 costs and will require us to cool our heels for weeks waiting for it to arrive. Turns out it’ll be cheaper and faster to buy a whole used D1-30 Volvo and my new best friend “J-Rod the kid mechanic” found two right here in Boat Works, with working alternators which is more than you can say about our engine. Now we start to imagine what this project will mean. J-Rod went over the two available engines and chose his favorite which has only 2,300 hours on it and he compared our old engine with the new engine, using the best bits from both.

With incredible energy and resourcefulness we somehow exorcized the Evil Twin from Escape Velocity and even more remarkably installed the very smooth running “new” engine. Of course this level of spending has to stop and with both engines we can actually maneuver well enough to leave the dock and stanch the financial hemorrhage.

Bobbing at anchor again off Boat Works we accepted that several important projects like a haul out and bottom job will have to wait for South East Aisa. In the meantime I’m really going to enjoy having two reliable engines.

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Monumental days

Life in Coffs Harbor was relatively easy after we negotiated a protected T-berth inside the marina. We must be getting soft, nevertheless we still unfolded the bikes and saw a little of the town. The seas were impressive and pounded the exposed massive granite blocks that make up the jetty wall, vibrating Escape Velocity and the marina water all around us. Sometimes spray would even shoot up over the jetty walls. Ten or twelve times a day huge trucks lumber down the jetty access road, wait until you’re not paying any attention and then, when you least expect it, tip the truck bed filled with those monumental stone blocks making a sound straight outa hell, scaring the bejesus out of Yours Truly every time.

So where was I? Oh yeah, several times a day we’d ride along the beautiful surf beach on the other side of those giant blocks and marvel at the very large waves curling in towards shore and, under our breath saying, “Glad we’re not out there.” Because that’s what we really are doing here. Waiting. Waiting for the North wind to switch to South and whatever’s causing all those combers to just cut it out. It helps that there are a lot of boats waiting for the same thing.

Marce, who feels compelled to read every sign and flyer pasted to every light pole, found a concert and foodie festival in a park near the marina. Just because you’re waiting out a Norther doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun.

We really need two good days of South wind and reasonable sea state to make it up to Southport where we will see to some long deferred maintenance on EV. Southport Bar has a bad reputation for wrecking boats trying to enter the bar in anything but benign conditions. Trying to sneak through in deteriorating conditions would not be wise. Finally our singlehanded berth mate, Mr. Mojito, dropped lines at 04:00 with a planned stop at Yamba and we followed suit at a more respectable 08:00, favoring an overnight to Southport. Clearing Coffs jetty we found a decent SE wind so with all the laundry full and by we shaped a course north.

All and all we were having a good sail and at dusk our ETA at Southport, all things considered, would be quite early. Not an option against the tide. We reefed the mainsail for night running and when I came on watch at midnight the breeze was getting fluky. By dawn we were motor sailing and running into the stiff East Australia current further reducing our progress to barely 3 kts. With conditions deteriorating at Southport and precious little progress against the current, our ETA, barring some kind of miracle, would be well after optimum tide and in the middle of the night. We began to cast about for a plan B.

Finally we decided to turn around and tuck into Byron Bay, seven miles astern, where with any luck at all we might avoid the worst of the wind and building waves. As we sailed closer to the beach we could see five fishing trawlers anchored on the 30 foot depth contour. Good news or bad, we did the same. These two days we spent at anchor, waiting out the blow in rising seas were not restful. We’ll just leave it at that, but someone posted this photo on line asking who was this anchored off Byron Beach. Yeah, that was us.

We’d had enough of Byron Bay and Southport tower said “maybe” on the entrance to the bar. We said close enough, and we were off at dawn. Once again, as the day wore on, the tower said the entrance was iffy so try for late afternoon, closer to slack tide. By the time we arrived the tower was non-committal and no one was going in or out, but the later the better. Yours Truly has found that there are times in this life when you just gotta say fuck it, and jump in with both feet. One of my chief concerns was that the evil twin Volvo was not behaving and would only be available to the cause for brief emergency duty and there were breaking waves arriving at the entrance from several different directions. On the plus side we’d gone over the bar at Bahia del Sol, El Salvador and lived.

The tower gave us the southern vector approach which meant making a 50 degree turn after clearing the jetty wall. That’s about when I saw a breaking rogue wave coming across from the north. I was able to kick the stern around into the breaker avoiding broaching and manhandled EV the rest of the way in. As we turned to find the channel markers the tower called up and said, “That was a very nice crossing!” I actually got an atta-boy from the tower! Maybe I should retire. It’s always such a relief to glide into protected water and splash the anchor in peace and quiet with a “coldie” in hand, it’s hard to remember what you just went through. Which is probably a good thing.

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The best laid plans


As passages go this one took longer than it ought. The wind direction was typically diametrically opposed to prediction and of course on the nose (OTN.) Instead of a nice southerly breeze pushing us up north to Pittwater we had north north Easterly punching us in the face. This was unfortunate on several levels. Rose Bay is no place to try to scrape your hull, even though I knew EV was handling rather sluggish. Peering down from the surface I’d seen it worse so I thought the props must be pretty foul, but we were going to sail down wind for a couple of hours…right? So no need to add a lot of fuel to the equation…right? Just under a quarter tank should be plenty…right?

Headlands are always lumpy with swirling currents and accelerated winds from weird directions. I could barely make 3kts punching our way out of Sydney Harbor with both engines on but soon we’ll be sailing and both engines will be off. Wrong. With sails sheeted in tight and both engines laboring we made Barrenjoey headland as the sun was setting. That’s got to be some kind of record for a 25-mile hop. The next day we putted over to Cruisers Retreat and picked up a mooring and the next morning I was chipping away at a ball of crusty crap on both props. Mystery solved.

We’d heard that locals call this bay The Basin and that it features some nice hikes and petroglyphs so as soon as I chipped away most of the barnacles off the propellor blades, which involves holding my breath while diving down to the bottom of the sail drives, grabbing a barnacled blade with a gloved hand and chipping away with a stainless steel scraper until my brain screams out “DO YOU WANT TO DIE HERE OR DO YOU WANT TO FIND SOME AIR ASAP?” So far, air has won. We scheduled an early morning hike due to a warning that the path up to the carvings can be steep and the day would be hot.

Oh yes, it got steep and painful, reminding us of Chacachacari, Trinidad, where we were circled by vultures the entire way up, or maybe the mountain pass over Fatu Hiva.



Eventually we saw signs of…signs, and entered the petroglyphs site which was not especially well protected like others we’d seen.


Plaques described how Aboriginals used shells and rocks to hammer a line of holes 5 to 10mm deep and then scratched, using water as a lubricant, a connecting channel between them. Those who ought to know figure that they could finish about a meter and a quarter in an hour in the soft Australian sandstone.

We spent quite a while tracing the outlines of some of the figures which were familiar to us from the rock paintings we’d seen and the flat table of rock that they chose was instantly recognizable as a sacred site, almost like we’d seen it before.

Turns out that at a certain age, as hard as it is to haul one’s aging body up an incredibly steep incline for hours, the knee pain of a nasty descent is worse. By the time we eventually reached the bottom it had taken us so long that we were in full afternoon Aussie sun so we quickly diverted over to a shady spot, in beautiful basin park.

The park has an Aussie kind of collection of animals just hanging out. You should have heard the scream from a family after they discovered this beast while picnicking within a meter of it.

It typically takes us about twice as long as the Aussie brochure says it will so we find that a ratio of 1 Aussie hour equals about 2 Escape Velocities, which suffices for planning purposes, unless wind and waves interfere, but you know, the best laid plans…

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Siren Song


I don’t know about you but it seems like in our travels, the more we see, the more we discover what we haven’t seen or wish we’d seen. Tasmania certainly fills that bill of lading. After yesterday’s Trail of Tears trauma in Port Arthur, with its massive tragedies old and new, we decided not to go back for a scheduled second day and opted for a day of lookouts and beautiful vistas that aren’t necessarily on the must-do, hotspot tour, but we really needed the chill. We’re glad we did. We found ourselves on the beautiful rugged Tasman Peninsula with an extra day to play with, so we set out to see what we could see.






When you’re in an area that’s known for growing berries I say, “Have a few.”


Sad to leave such a beautiful place but we both could feel EV’s siren song calling us home.


Our flight back to Sydney was scheduled for 4:30pm. However the car had to be turned in at 11:00am so our intrepid travel director switched our flight to an earlier one. I couldn’t help but notice the same large bronze sculpture I first saw when entering Hobart Terminal featuring a luggage cart with trunks stacked on it and about a half dozen bronze Tasmanian Devils exploring it, as though they smelled dead meat. I confess that I felt differently about the husky buggers now, than when I first saw that sculpture. Bugs Bunny was right.

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Speak of the devil

We’ve been having good experiences with Aussie wildlife Down Under, even though they tend to be rather shy and nocturnal. I wasn’t leaving Tasmania until I’d seen Tassie’s most famous and exclusive marsupial, the Tasmanian devil. We’d been seeing signs showing people hugging and petting the cute little buggers even though they seem to have a preponderance of large pearly white teeth. You know, how puppies open their mouths and kind of smile while being petted…well those are teeth, aren’t they?

Photo from Tasmanian Devil Conservation Project

We were informed that we probably wouldn’t see any out in the wild but there’s a zoo nearby called the Unzoo and we’d have a good shot at seeing some. Unzoo, that must be where the Tasmania devil petting zoo is. Great. Turns out they have a kid sized tunnel that leads to a small plastic observation dome so you can watch them without disturbing them. Wow, they must be really shy.

After entering through the gift shop we found out that the next feeding was about to start. Unexpected, but as we turned a corner around some landscaped shrubs we entered a small amphitheater, sat down in front and immediately noticed a heavy duty thick glass wall separating us from the…show. Interesting. Eyebrows slightly raised.

In came Crocodile Dundee, slightly out of breath, carrying a small cooler, which he opened and set on top of the barrier. “Did you see him? Usually he does a couple of laps before he settles down enough to be fed.” We looked at each other with eyebrows well arched. There was no devil in evidence, so the naturalist vamped with some informative fun facts on the devil’s lifespan and behavior.

After a few more minutes with no devil he radios to his assistant for, well, assistance. She shows up with a stout walking stick, heavy boots, long pants, vaults over the barrier and charges through the habitat. Soon he appears, the muscular black and white growling spitting devil, and he means business.

From the opened cooler our naturalist pulls out a hunk of gristly bone, meat, and fur, kinda Wallaby colored, attached with a massive hook and cable and proceeds to tease our devil who came in here with a bad attitude to start with and he’s not appreciating the show business qualities of yanking away his rightful food. Seconds later he’s snatched the hunk of meat out of the air and now he’s going to take it home which will shorten the show. So now we have a tug-of-war with the small but powerful bugger, nearly pulling the full grown straining naturalist over in the process. Impressive. Pound for pound they have the most powerful jaws of any animal, so once he bites down it’s obvious he’ll never let go. He can bite through bone but they have poor eyesight, lousy hunting skills, smell well enough to notice rotting carion, and are not the brightest bulb on the tree. Let’s agree to call them opportunistic hunters. They have on occasion clamped down on sleeping humans and I’m guessing it didn’t turn out well. In the meantime he’s managed to get the hunk off of the hook and growling and grunting, the show is over. It’s no wonder that the only thing that Bugs Bunny fears is the Tasmanian Devil! The Unzoo doesn’t like to cage its animals but we can only hope that enclosure for these buggers is secure.

With the star off grumpily gnawing on whatever’s left of his breakfast we explored the grounds. The only native kangaroo in Tassie is the Forester Kangaroo and they had a nice feeding area for guests and Roos.


Most of the animals at the Unzoo are Tasmanian specific and the Eastern Quoll are carnivorous so don’t let the cute fawn like fur fool you.

We also saw a lot of these Tasmanian pademelons, smaller kangaroo-like marsupials, just wandering the grounds.


And as if the Tasmanian Devil weren’t enough, at a little bird show here’s a rather strange bird called a Tawny Frogmouth.

Strange frog or weird bird? Either way he had great eyesight and when he saw an eagle, just a tiny dot high up in the sky, he elongated his neck to look like a tree limb, and stood absolutely motionless while staring right up at that tiny speck.

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Good timing

We’d already decided to write off Maria Island, just off the coast of Triabunna, due to the all day nature of having to take a ferry, the many long hikes, no café or ice cream, not to mention the expense. Somewhere in our travels we ran into someone who said, “You’ve just got to go to Maria.” We’re finding Tassie to be tricky to plan anyway, so even a bad plan is better than wandering around aimlessly. Our ace activity planner jumped into action and soon had something feasible worked out. Once again the kind lady at the information office fine tuned our schedule and said you can change the ferry tickets on the fly so no worries.

Soon rain beat an insistent tattoo on our windows as the sky closed in and we were glad to be on a closed-in boat. With a cross swell running out in the Tasman Sea, even in these benign conditions periodic wave slaps jolted the large boat just to remind you where you are, and you travel here only at the indulgence of Neptune. It’s the nature of rain at sea that it comes in bands and by the time we pulled into Darlington Bay, it had stopped.

Everyone on the ferry spread out along the many disparate paths and we found ourselves stepping carefully, dodging an amazing quantity of poo. Whose? I don’t want to think about it. Spare, desolate, spooky, any place where a great deal of bad juju happened always gives me the creeps and this place has it in spades. Evidence of whaling was found on the beaches and topping a rolling hill we ran into a wombat busily grazing, who by all rights should have been asleep.

This island is part of the UNESCO heritage listing for Australia’s Convict History and was definitely not for convicts with privileges but was reserved for what they called convict probation whose focus was on “punishment and reform through hard labor, religious instruction, and education.”

Evidence of hard labor wasn’t hard to find and just past the grassy landing strip doing duty as a kangaroo spa we found the fossil cliffs where convicts were tasked with cutting huge blocks of lime rock for concrete until somebody, probably one of the convicts tired of cutting huge blocks of lime, noticed that the high lime content was due to an amazing quantity of fossilized marine life contained within.

I fancied the longer loop return hike passing through the interior of the island and a large reservoir built by the convicts. By this point the pricey bicycle rental was sounding like a good deal.

Past the engine house, brick and lime kilns we stopped to eat our picnic lunch at the penitentiary and were soon on our way with the most ambitious hike of the day, all the way to the painted cliffs which could only be seen at low tide and for a change we seem to have gotten the timing of the tide right.

The weather started to get serious and we knew we still had a long drive ahead so when Marce suggested maybe we could make an earlier ferry we focused on speed rather than style. Just as I began to no longer care whether we made the early ferry or not we could see it coming into Darlington Bay. After more than eight miles, good timing again.

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Dancing in the Dark

We never miss an opportunity to see penguins, but it’s a tricky business, this penguin watching business. They don’t always show up, kind of like the swim-with-whales excursion tours. No guarantees. So when the penguin folks off Diamond Island in Bicheno gave us a show time of 9:15 pm we were more than a little surprised. How do they manage that? We know several cruisers who have hardly seen any. We’ve been lucky enough to see a few of the little blue or fairy penguins from our boat.

We followed instructions and lined up at the penguin bus shelter at the appointed time and sure enough the bus pulled up and we piled in with 12 other penguin loving souls. The ride was short while the sun set, leaving us stumbling around in the dark. There was a kind of orientation by a well-meaning but unintelligible young Asian woman whose instructions, as near as I could make out, were basically to not do anything. Her yellow-beam flashlight would be the only light permissible. Nicely developed pathways were marked with the occasional solar garden path light, allowing just enough light to see some of the garden we were walking through. Burrows were scattered over the area, some were above ground boxes and some were below. Several had those chubby Baby-Huey like chicks anxiously waiting for their meal.

The flock started with about 45 penguins but the Park Service found it to be unsustainable with the losses due to cats and dogs. Capitalism to the rescue! After teaming up with private ownership they constructed a refuge for the penguins and now support about 600. I believe them. I’d have to say that it smells like 6000, and every night at dusk about 50-100 wobble up the beach to feed the chicks. I guess there’s a few slackers among them, just like anywhere.

It turns out that you’re supposed to hold still with your feet spread apart and if they should so desire, just let the Little Blue cuties walk through or around you. In a little bit of Asian humor I think she said sometimes they give you a little peck or even a little surprise. Cheeky.

Our guide played the only permissible light source over the outside rocks where all the Little Blue Penguins were lined up…just thinking about it. They were very shy and I’m pretty sure at first they just sent in three of the least popular. After they made it waddling up the beach to pass by us, the rest came in dribs and drabs. They quickly dispersed into their borrows to feed their huge and seemingly ungrateful lazy chicks.

They don’t trust their guests to know how to turn off their flash so with no photography allowed the kind penguin folks emailed some of their photos so you’d have something to look at. Even though these are not our photos, they are exactly what we saw.

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Bring the Funk

Great googlie mooglie, what is that racket? I decided I could risk opening just one eyeball. The room is still dark. Don’t think we’re being robbed. Marce is still asleep. There it is again. It sounds like a claxion horn but no one could want me up in the middle of the night so it must be some kind of mistake. That’s when it hits me. We need to get to Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne for our flight to Tasmania and as usual we’re saving a few pesos by taking the red-eye. On top of everything else, there may have been a few errors in back-timing, so it’s all hands on deck, without a moment to lose for the Escapees.

It’s a hike to the Transportation Center in the best of times but lugging all our gear for a nineteen day trip through a large thoroughly dark city…well, let’s just say I’m glad I’m still asleep.

I don’t know how security is out there in the world these days but here in OZ it’s thorough but at least you don’t have to undress. I don’t think I could face that at this hour. Now, dear Escapees, as we sipped our first coffee of the morning, normally this is when we start to remember all the stuff we forgot to remember. First was our little one cup on-the-road coffee maker. That’s going to hurt, but otherwise we’re looking good. To a sailor, air travel is a marvel of painful efficiency. It takes roughly an hour and a half to travel 375 miles but you have to do it in an upholstered torture rack better suited for leg-less children.


The cloud cover broke as soon as we raised the Tasmanian coast, revealing checkered fields of green and gold and finally the massive beautiful bay into Hobart. Normally we would hit the ground running but this time we were left cooling our heels at Hobart’s cute little Airport for an hour and a half, waiting for Eurocar to wash one for us. “It’ll be right as apples by 11:30.” Really?

Finally they finished our car and we decided to head directly for the circuitous road up to Mt. Wellington which I knew would be predictably hard on Marce who does not like riding next to a precipice without guard rails, preferring instead concrete Jersey Barriers that she cannot see over or at least Armco. The lookout did not disappoint which made up for all of the must-we-dice-with-death comments on the way up.

On the way back down we stopped at a quaint cafe that played 1970’s funk sung by Aussie cover artists, some were so good that it was difficult to distinguish from the original. It took 45 minutes to unwind ourselves back down the mountain and find our motel. So it’s pizza and tennis on the tube for us tonight. Our nightlife maybe getting a little dull these days but I’m thrilled that for a couple of days at least this is home.

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